Directory: Churches and People

Open the Book helping to engage schoolchildren in Bible stories

25 April 2014

Volunteers from St Andrew's Church, Cranwell, have been visiting their local primary school to bring Bible stories to life.

An interactive method of retelling Bible stories is enabling a local church to undertake outreach work in the local community.

Reader at St Andrew's Church, Cranwell, Naomi Smith was introduced to Open the Book around three years ago.

The initiative offers a programme of themed and dramatised Bible stores, designed to be presented in school assemblies by teams of volunteer storytellers.

Open the Book became a national organisation in 2007 and by January last year, there were 8,429 volunteers going in 1,473 schools across the country.

Naomi said: "I was introduced to Open the Book by a friend from another county and thought it was a wonderful idea.

"The idea was put to our PCC of approaching Cranwell Primary School with the idea of going into assembly once a month and this was approved. I took the literature with me and presented it to the headteacher. He was duly impressed and welcomed the offer of help with whole school assembly once a month."

Each session is around 10 minutes long and storytellers use drama, mime, props and costume as well as including children and staff in presenting the stories.

Naomi added: "The first assembly was quite nerve racking as the school has 300 pupils and we had no idea what the reaction would be. Imagine our surprise when the whole school remained absolutely silent during the presentation, you could have heard a pin drop.

"This was not a one off; the children are just fascinated by the stories and love it if they are asked to be involved. It is a wonderful outreach and so fulfilling to be able to reach 300 children each month with Bible stories to a school which is not a Church school."

Naomi is happy to talk to other parishes about the Open the Book initiative. Call 01400 262133.